As happened with SOPA, “traditional” news is slow to pick up on the latest attempt by the U.S. Congress to mess with the one thing they seem to not understand – at all – the Internet. What is CISPA? The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. And where SOPA was viewed as the bill that would “break the Internet,” CISPA is the bill that will push society toward an Orwellian 1984 nightmarish reality.
What is CISPA, exactly and why should you care? Well, according to the bill’s description, its intent is “to provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities, and for other purposes.” Seems a little vague, right? Well, it is. And that should scare you – we’ll tell you why in a second. You can read the bill in its entirety here, FYI.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) summarizes concerns with the bill nicely (as they should, their tagline is “defending your rights in the digital world”):
The bill purports to allow companies and the federal government to share information to prevent or defend from cyberattacks. However, the bill expressly authorizes monitoring of our private communications, and is written so broadly that it allows companies to hand over large swaths of personal information to the government with no judicial oversight—effectively creating a “cybersecurity” loophole in all existing privacy laws.
Oh, but that’s not all. It would also allow private companies to read your email and would allow companies to hand over your private information to the government WITHOUT A WARRANT – and you would have little to no recourse. And once the government has your no-longer-private info, they can use it for “other enforcement purposes,” which are loosely defined.
Feeling a chill yet?
Oh, but the people sponsoring this bill must know what they’re talking about and these “experts” have determined this bill is necessary, right? Wrong.
TechDirt tells us that actual cybersecurity expert, Chris Soghoian has highlighted how the key sponsors of CISPA fail at basic cybersecurity for their own websites, raising serious questions about their competence in writing a cybersecurity bill:
. . . we can at least hope that the two most senior members of the Intelligence Committee have in-house technical advisors with specific expertise in the area of information security. After all, without such subject area expertise, it boggles the mind as to how they can at least evaluate and then put their names on the cybersecurity legislation that was almost certainly ghostwritten by other parts of the government – specifically, the National Security Agency.
And as this clip from Jon Stewart shows, Congress members do not consider themselves to be “nerds” so they couldn’t possibly understand the Internet! Please.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
So, regardless of what you may feel about the hacker group Anonymous, they’ve initiated a 24 hour tweet bomb to raise awareness of these issues and fight CISPA. And they have the right idea.
Why the urgency? Congress is set to vote on the bill on Monday, April 23 – yes, next week.
Interested in joining the tweet bomb battle? Tag your tweets with #StopCISPA hashtag and get it trending! And visit the EFF’s site for additional tools and resources about the bill and ways to share it on your other social networks.
(Man looking over shoulder image from Shutterstock)